In what should be a long offseason, the Miami Dolphins will have to think about their missed opportunity to get into the postseason. If they would have made it into the playoffs, they may have been able to make some noise since they beat the team they would have played in the Wild Card round.
After winning three consecutive games, Miami had their playoff fate in their own hands. All they needed to do was beat two division rivals that were under .500. After losing in an embarrassing fashion 19-0 to the Buffalo Bills, they still had an opportunity to get into the postseason with a Week 17 victory at home against the New York Jets.
In Week 13, they beat the Jets 23-3 and looked to be the far superior team. Jets quarterback Geno Smith was benched at halftime and seemed to be destined to be relegated to the bench for the remainder of the season. In that game, the Jets’ quarterbacks turned the ball over three times and were unable to put together consistent drives.
In Week 17, the roles were reversed as the Dolphins had trouble on offense and lost the game 20-7. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill, coming off the worst start of his career in Buffalo, played a decent first half. He threw his only TD of the game and did not turn the ball over. In the second half, with his go-to receiver Brian Hartline out with a knee injury, Tannehill seemed to have lost control. He threw three interceptions and finished the game with a QB rating of 42.1.
Miami was also stuffed on a fourth-and-one with a run up the middle by H-Back Charles Clay. Miami doesn’t have a true fullback on their roster, which has cost them on plenty of short yardage situations. They also don’t have a power back that can push the pile to get that yard, and that may have been a big factor that cost them a playoff berth.
They cut fullback Jorvorskie Lane in the preseason and fullback Tyler Clutts early in the regular season. The Dolphins finished the season 3-of-11 on fourth-down conversions, which is the third worst percentage in the NFL.
Going into 2014, Miami needs to fix their short yardage problems and come up with a more effective game plan for Tannehill. He is a very good runner and needs to be able to roll outside the pocket, especially with the lack of blocking he has received this season. These are the things that ended their season early and if they are not fixed, they will end up with the same result next season.